Artist Sean Briggs draws inspiration from his natural surroundings and its fauna to create wonderful, interpretive illustrations. Using a combination of traditional graphite, watercolour and ink on paper, Sean’s artistic style has changed over the years, whilst undertaking his own personal ‘sketch a day’ project.
We caught up with him to chat about his methods, inspirations and some of his newest pieces of artwork.
What makes you decide what to draw/paint on the day?
My daily sketch is now into its sixth year. That means I now have over 1900 sketches published on my social sites, so the choice of what to sketch on any one day is not that important, so long as I get it down on paper and then out into the social streams. I use the ‘sketch a day’ as a kind of artistic workout before the more elaborate work begins.
Most of my sketches are of the quintessential British countryside, the places and the wildlife. Occasionally my trips abroad will influence what I sketch as I am an avid photographer with a large archive of over 60,000 images that I have taken over the years.
Have you got a favourite subject to draw/paint?
There are a couple of subjects I turn to on a regular basis; the first being abandoned places, farmhouses that have fallen to ruin in the wilder areas of Britain or crumbling castles; the second being the farm animals. I grew up on a farm, so they hold a special place in my heart. My closest friend is a pastoral farmer high up in the Pennines, so I have easy access to livestock.
In truth, all British wildlife and fauna hold my attention, I can easily spend a day by a stream sketching what's around me.
How has your style changed over the years?
My style continues to evolve. I'm always looking for new ways to present what I see, even my sketch a day has changed over time. I limit myself to 30 minutes per sketch so I have developed a short-hand technique for what I see, which has started to spill over into my paintings and larger works.
When I started out as a working Artist, I had a tendency to over-work pieces, not knowing when to stop. Now my style is to simplify as much as possible, moving away from the photorealistic to a more expressive approach.
Tell us a little about your current style and the use of colour in your newest pieces.
I spent my childhood on the Yorkshire moorlands, which were both beautiful and dramatic and full of magic. I try to capture some of that early childlike wonder in my work now. The sketchy approach I prefer is more about the mood of a place or the spirit of an animal, rather than an accurate depiction. My work usually starts as several graphite sketches on cartridge paper, if one feels right, I will then use that as the basis for further work; adding charcoal, oil pastel or ink. These sketches are then digitised and worked on in my studio, sometimes using creative software or simply preparing for printing. I love experimenting with new styles and different media and an increasingly larger scale work.
Who do you hope that your artwork appeals to?
My hope is that my work appeals to anybody with a love for nature and the British countryside; those who want to bring a little wilderness into their homes and share it with their friends and family.
You can view Sean’s artwork here.